Houston, we have a problem.
Rockets superstar James Harden is reportedly unhappy in Houston and has informed the team he is requesting a trade. According to ESPN NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski and Tim MacMahon, Harden has a list of top trade destinations. He is willing to be traded to the Philadelphia 76ers or other contenders after previously only wanting to be traded to the Brooklyn Nets.
Daryl Morey wants to keep Embiid and Simmons in Philly pic.twitter.com/fP0ecvNvzV
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) December 8, 2020
Wojnarowski also said the Rockets are in no rush to trade Harden. He is still under contract through the 2022-2023 season, so they can slow play a deal until they get equal value.
Top trade destinations
So, what would it take for the Rockets to grant Harden his wish? Here are a few contending teams that could make a run at the eight-time all star.
Just because it’s obvious doesn’t mean it’s wrong. Harden mentioned the 76ers by name in his trade demands, so clearly their ears should have perked up. Philly’s biggest flaw on their roster is their lack of shooting talent. Adding Harden to a core group of Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and Tobias Harris would instantly make the 76ers the favorite in the east.
A trade with the Rockets would most likely require Philly sending one of the aforementioned players, along with a young piece like Matisse Thybulle and a boatload of draft picks.
The other team Harden specifically mentioned, Brooklyn. He would reunite with his former Oklahoma City teammate Kevin Durant and former USA Olympic teammate Kyrie Irving. Brooklyn would have to sell their future for Harden, as a deal would probably involve young talent like Jarrett Allen and/or Caris LeVert, as well as draft picks.
Golden State Warriors
Anytime a big name is mentioned on the trading block, the Warriors will instantly be named. With the loss of Klay Thompson for the season (and possibly longer), Golden State needs an upgrade in the background next to former MVP Steph Curry. Could they make a deal work, though? A deal with the Rockets would have to involve second overall pick James Wiseman or Andrew Wiggins in my opinion, as well as draft picks. The biggest holdup is Houston. Do they want to trade Harden to an intraconference rival? My guess is no.
Boston has come close to getting over the hump for years now but have yet to put it all together. Adding Harden would push an already talented roster over the top, adding the scorer to a core of Jayson Tatum and Kemba Walker. The trade would involve players such as Jalen Brown and Marcus Smart, as well as draft picks.